What was the impact of the war on Australia and/or neighbouring countries? (Syllabus Question):
Students are expected to study the impact of the war on ONE of the following:
Vietnam veterans and their families
Australia’s relations with Asia
Veterans and their families:
Vietnam War veterans were no treated well on arrival to Australia unlike during WWI and WWII. •
Unlike during 1918 when the government tried to assist soldiers with the ‘Soldier Settlement Scheme’ and in 1945, when returned soldiers were cheered and welcomed back as heroes, this did not happen after Vietnam. •
Vietnam Veterans were not seen as heroes, instead as ‘baby killers’ involved in an unjust war. •
There was no cheering crowds, or ticker-tape parades.
There was no Vietnam War welcome home parade until 1987!
The psychological impact:
Far fewer men served in Vietnam than in previous wars and so the war experience was understood by far fewer people in the community. •
The Vietnam War had been deeply unpopular and so returning soldiers had to cope with the anger and resentment from people in Australia. •Many veterans suffered major medical problems on their return to Australia, e.g. post-traumatic stress syndrome. •In Vietnam, soldiers were under constant stress as a Vietcong attack could occur anywhere at any place and at any time. •The psychological impact on some Veterans led to violence, family breakdowns and in some cases even suicide. •An inability to civilian life led some Veterans into drug dependency, alcoholism and crime.
The physical impact:
•Many Australian soldiers served in areas that American forces had tried to defoliate (practice of destroying vegetation in order to deny the Vietcong jungle cover, using chemicals such as Agent Orange). •This often resulted in rashes, cancer, and birth abnormalities in veterans’ children (e.g. leukaemia). •Stress was often placed on the veterans’ families as a result of...
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